Specialist Desk Editor, World Desk, London
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Mar 29, 2015

Digging deep, Belgian coalfield shows where Van Gogh emerged

MONS, Belgium (Reuters) – It is fitting tribute to the role the Belgian coalfield around Mons played in Van Gogh’s emergence as an artist that the city has made a rare show of his early works a focus of its year as European Capital of Culture.

From the clumsy sketches with which the 25-year-old Dutch lay preacher began to drawings flowing with the energy that marked his later painting, “Van Gogh in the Borinage: Birth of an Artist” at Beaux Arts Mons is a treat for the academic and casually curious alike. It ought, too, to inspire perseverance in any would-be creator — even Van Gogh started out with dross.

Mar 29, 2015

Digging deep, Belgian coalfield shows where Van Gogh emerged

MONS, Belgium (Reuters) – It is fitting tribute to the role the Belgian coalfield around Mons played in Van Gogh’s emergence as an artist that the city has made a rare show of his early works a focus of its year as European Capital of Culture.

From the clumsy sketches with which the 25-year-old Dutch lay preacher began to drawings flowing with the energy that marked his later painting, “Van Gogh in the Borinage: Birth of an Artist” at Beaux Arts Mons is a treat for the academic and casually curious alike. It ought, too, to inspire perseverance in any would-be creator — even Van Gogh started out with dross.

Mar 28, 2015

Portugal pushes for closer euro zone integration

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Portugal has presented proposals for closer economic coordination between the countries of the euro zone as the bloc tries to put crises over Greece and other big debtor states behind it.

EU ministers will study the Portuguese discussion paper, entitled “The Missing Piece in the Economic and Monetary Union Puzzle: Economic Policy Coordination”, ahead of a summit of leaders in June at which they are expected to outline plans to strengthen the single currency area over coming years.

Mar 28, 2015

Portugal pushes for closer euro zone integration

BRUSSELS, March 28 (Reuters) – Portugal has presented
proposals for closer economic coordination between the countries
of the euro zone as the bloc tries to put crises over Greece and
other big debtor states behind it.

EU ministers will study the Portuguese discussion paper,
entitled “The Missing Piece in the Economic and Monetary Union
Puzzle: Economic Policy Coordination”, ahead of a summit of
leaders in June at which they are expected to outline plans to
strengthen the single currency area over coming years.

Mar 20, 2015

EU leaders pledge security cooperation, aid for Tunisia

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders pledged to step up help for Tunisia on Friday, worried that an attack that killed 20 foreign tourists shows Islamic State militants spreading their influence from Libya and posing a growing threat to Europe.

EU governments are already deeply worried about chaos in Libya which has fueled an exodus of migrants that are putting a heavy strain on southern EU countries such as Italy.

Mar 20, 2015

Greek PM assures EU creditors reforms coming to unlock cash

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assured European Union creditors at late-night crisis talks in Brussels that his leftist-led coalition would present soon a full set of economic reforms in order to unlock cash to stave off bankruptcy.

After two months of mounting frustration on both sides since Tsipras was elected with a mandate to end years of austerity imposed by creditors’ conditions, the three-hour meeting on the sidelines of an EU summit was requested by Tsipras to break an impasse that risks seeing Athens stumble out of the euro zone.

Mar 14, 2015

EU executive warns of Grexit ‘catastrophe’, urges euro solidarity

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission warned of “catastrophe” if Greece has to abandon the euro and its chief executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, urged EU governments to show solidarity as Athens struggles to secure more credit.

A day after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece might stumble out of the euro zone because new, left-wing leaders failed to negotiate new borrowings, Juncker’s economics commissioner said EU hardliners underestimated the risk that this would start a fatal domino collapse of the common currency.

Mar 13, 2015

EU’s Juncker pushes for deal with Greece

BRUSSELS, March 13 (Reuters) – EU chief executive
Jean-Claude Juncker and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
called on Friday for European governments to show solidarity
with Greece and resolve a credit crunch that risks dumping it
out of the euro zone.

Their comments, as the bloc’s German paymaster presses its
demands that Athens’ new leftist government honour commitments
to international creditors, highlighted Juncker’s concern over a
risk of grave damage to the EU, but may also fuel suspicion in
Berlin that the EU Commission could try to water down any deal.

Mar 11, 2015

France wins battle of Waterloo, as coin is tossed

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Two hundred years after Napoleon’s ambitions to rule Europe died at Waterloo, France won a small battle on Wednesday to prevent the minting of a euro coin commemorating an event that shaped today’s continent.

Belgium withdrew a proposal to strike a special 2-euro piece in honor of the Anglo-Dutch-German victory outside Brussels on June 18, 1815, an EU official said, averting an EU ministerial vote after Paris objected on the grounds that glorifying a time of conflict ran counter to efforts to foster European unity.

Mar 11, 2015

NATO chief says Russia still equipping Ukraine rebels

MONS, Belgium (Reuters) – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that Russia was still arming and training rebel forces in eastern Ukraine and he called for the warring parties to help foreign monitors to reinforce a ceasefire.

Asked at a news conference about a U.S. diplomat’s remark that Russian tanks had crossed into Ukraine in recent days, he declined specific comment on that but said: “We … still see Russian presence and strong support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine. We see the delivery of equipment, forces, training. And so Russia is still in eastern Ukraine.

    • About Alastair

      "Editor for political and general news across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 21 years with Reuters, have reported widely on conflict, elections, society, economics, culture and sport from postings in Paris, Moscow, Berlin, London, Baghdad and Jerusalem."
      Joined Reuters:
      1990
      Languages:
      English, French, Russian, German, Italian
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